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  • Category: Festivals

    Celebrating Bengali New Year: Then and now

    Late seventies and early eighties. My brother and I used to be very eager. We used to be waiting for the evening. The mercury of excitement rose slowly but surely. At around 5 p.m, my mother brought clean clothes. After wearing clean clothes, we used to visit the shops with my father, from where my parents used to purchase clothes, books and other essential items every month throughout the year. The invitation letters were with my father.

    We were welcomed by the shop-owner. First we used to have 'prasad' of Ganesh-ji who was worshipped in the forenoon. Then my father used to clear the pending bill of that shop. Thereafter a big packet of sweets and a Bengali calendar were handed over. After bidding good-bye, we departed for another shop. We also used to visit book-shops of College Street, where Bengali New Year was celebrated in a grand style.

    The tradition of Bengali New Year ('Halkhata') started becoming extinct during the early nineties itself. The Bengali shop-keepers started accounting according to the English calendar. Nowadays, Bengali children don't even know the current Bengali year. Now, on this day, Bengali gentries wear 'dhuti-panjabi' (dhoti-kurta) and ladies wear Bengali 'sarees', visit any Bengali cultural programme for fifteen minutes or so, and send copied Bangla messages to one another. I don't know whether Bengali shop-owners still worship Lord Ganesha on Bengali New Year day, or not.

    The old, simple Bengali 'Halkhata' has bidden us 'Good-bye'. When, nobody knows.
  • #595843
    From this post for the first time I came to know that for Bengalis the new year is the starting of their accounting year. Normally we have seen accounts from 1st April to 31 March or from Deepavali to Deepavali. But for the first time I am coming across the fact that Bengali new year day is the accounts new year day. Surely the present generation of shop owners may not following the old tradition and they prefer English calendar. By the way what predictions were made for this year to all the stars or Raasi. How the country would progress, whether we get sufficient rains this time.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #595847
    Happy new year to you Mr.Partha. I wish that you will have a fruitful and happy new year with lots of fun.
    always confident

  • #633606
    Happy new year to all our friends here. Thanks to the author for bringing out the celebrations in the past and at present which many of us are not aware of. That is the beauty of this glorious site where we all mingle together representing the symbol of cultural integration of the country.

  • #633632
    This is very nice to know how the Bengali new year day is celebrated. It is nice to know that the new year starts from this day in Bengal. And it is good that they start the new year with a worship to Ganesha. In our Andhra Pradesh, we start a new Panchangam from New year day and it is the practice to read the Panchanga on that day.
    always confident

  • #633634
    But why are the experienced Members including an Editor responding to an exactly one-year-old thread? I mentioned it in my response only for reference purpose.
    Non-violence is the greatest Dharma; So too is all righteous violence.

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